Jaymi Heimbuch is a writer and also photographer specializing in wildlife conservation. She is the author of The Ethiopian Wolf: hope at the edge of Extinction.

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Owls are well-known as silent fliers — they must be fully quiet if they want to swoop in on fast-moving, distant prey. To accomplish this, castle have vast wings that enable them come glide, minimizing the flapping the creates many of the noise native a paris bird.


For once flapping is necessary, many owl species have special trip feathers that make the action as quiet as possible. The leading edge of the primary flight feathers space stiff fringes, memory of the this of a comb, that mitigate turbulence. On the trailing edges of the very same feathers room soft fringes, similar to the frayed ends of a torn piece of cloth, which further reduce any kind of remaining turbulence.


Below these feathers, the wings of owls are likewise covered in well downy feathers that dampen sound even more.


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Owls are zygodactyl, which refers to the structure of their feet: two toes (toes two and three) dealing with forward and also two (toes one and four) dealing with backward. This is what is seen in woodpeckers and also parrots, and also it is optimal because that gripping on prey and also branches. Owls are not grounding in this setup, however. They have the right to rotate their fourth toe earlier and forth, which is why when owls are flying, they have actually three toe in front and also one in back.


For a truly superior grip, owls have the ability to lock your toes around an object so the they don't should continually contract their muscles. They gain maximum grip through minimal effort.


6. Not All Owls Hoot

When friend think of an owl's voice, friend think of a gentle, quivering hoo-hoo. However, no all owls sound the very same — not also close. The properties hoot belongs to the great horned owl, yet there's much more to hear.


The barn owl, because that instance, emits a harsh screeching sound memory of a squeaking door. Meanwhile, the barred owl sounds almost much more like the neigh of a equine than any type of vocalization you'd mean from a bird. Clock the video below to hear simply a few of the distinct and varied sounds that exist throughout owl species.


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Not every owls fly high with the skies and nest in hollows increase in tall trees. As one of the smallest owl species in north America, the aptly named burrowing owl is opportunistic and also stays close to the ground. They colony in underground burrows, regularly taking end ones left by prairie dogs, squirrels, and also armadillos. They'll destruction their own houses if necessary, though.


Often, burrowing owls will line the entrance of your burrows with animal dung. This is a wise searching strategy, together dung works as bait for insects the the owl deserve to then feeding on.


8. They room Symbolic

Owls carry rich symbolism throughout a number of cultures, and also the meaning of this creatures different greatly. Most popular is the owl's representation of wisdom, which deserve to be checked out throughout west folklore and also even pop culture such as Winnie the Pooh. This is likely since of that is intelligent, strategic approach to hunting.


Native Americans believe in the owl's connection to wisdom but likewise connect it to death. Listening its hoot can be thought about unlucky. In Greek mythology, the snow owl is the sacred animal of Athena, goddess that war. Any sighting of the bird on the battlefield was thought about to be she presence.

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9. Some varieties Are decreasing

There are around 250 varieties of owls throughout the world, and unfortunately, not every one of them are thriving. The IUCN Red perform labels dozens of owl varieties at varying degrees of concern, from near threatened come critically endangered. Some notable at-risk species include the snowy owl, spotted owl, and also a couple of pygmy owls. Proceed reading for ideas to assist conservation and protection efforts.